Cardinal Müller: the Faith first – if necessary, priests to disobey bishops…

The German episcopate is divided on the question of granting Protestants access to Eucharistic Communion, and the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reminds priests that they are not obliged to obey their bishops when they order them to commit acts that  go against the doctrine and practice of the Church.

Priests are “not bound by Divine Law to administer Holy Communion to a non-Catholic, and in any case,they certainly cannot be bound by any episcopal order,” declared Cardinal Gerhard Müller on December 11, 2018, in an interview with the information website LifeSite.

This statement from the former prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith comes one month after the bishop of Münster, Bishop Felix Genn, declared on the contrary that no priest has the right to refuse Communion to a Protestant.

Ever since Pope Francis’ visit to the Lutheran church in Rome (November 15, 2015), when in answer to a Protestant woman’s question on the matter, he evasively responded, “I would never dare to give permission for this because it is not in my authority. Speak with the Lord and move forward,” many bishops have rushed headlong into what they believe to be a carte blanche for intercommunion.

Cardinal Müller recalls that there are cases in which a priest has to resist his bishop “just as St. Paul resisted St. Peter,” quoting the passage from the Epistle to the Galatians (2:11). We might add that St. Paul was not only a priest, but also a bishop, and even an apostle, and that he took the liberty of publicly rebuking the first pope “because he was not walking uprightly unto the truth of the Gospel.” Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre did exactly the same thing.

The Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten’s interview with Fr. Davide Pagliarani, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, on December 15, 2018, echoes this position, recalling that it is “inconceivable that the Church was mistaken for two millennia and that she found the truth about these questions only during the years of the Council, between 1962 and 1965.”   Source

Comment:

Before our enemies – or even some well-meaning readers – come racing on to accuse me of posting a misleading headline, because the Cardinal is referring to Intercommunion when he says priests are under no obligation to obey their bishops, allow me to point out that, logically, if a priest may disobey his bishop in a situation where the Faith is being undermined or openly attacked, then it stands to reason that this same “disobedience” applies to each and every instance where the Faith and Catholic Morals are under attack.  Yes? No?  Not sure?  Let’s hear it!  

27 responses

  1. Absolutely! It stands to reasons that the faith always CES first, regardless of the subject matter.

    As an aside, am I the only one who finds this crisis truly bizarre? When Cardinal Muller, himself guilty of Modernism in the past, is a leading figure against Pope Francis you know you are well and truly in the realm of the utterly bizarre!

    • Petrus,

      The same thought struck me – I still remember our shock horror discussions on this blog when Cardinal Müller was appointed to the CDF, given his record of unorthodox statements. So, it is a measure of just how deep this crisis has become that he is now “a leading figure against Pope Francis”, as you, so aptly, put it…

      More to the point, though is this: if a modernist like Cardinal Müller can see the need for priests to dispense with what is, in fact, false obedience, in order to defend the Faith, why can’t your average diocesan priest see it? Or are they really so lacking in elementary knowledge of the Faith, Morals, Liturgy, that they actually don’t get it?

      • Yes, I think they ARE lacking! I had a two hour conversation with the former Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Glasgow a number of years ago and he really didnt have a clue. It was staggering!

      • editor,

        Poor (in fact really, really crap) formation is part of it. Another reason is that living on job-seeker’s allowance is pretty miserable.

  2. Cardinal Muller seems to have either had a change of heart – given his steady stream of defense of orthodoxy since the abrupt end of his CDF tenure – or he is positioning himself for the next conclave. Or both! More power to him….or should I say, more grace to him….

    This issue raises another question: if a priest can disobey an errant bishop, can’t he also disobey an errant Pope (if said Pope is undermining the Faith)? Esp. this Pope, who is slashing and burning his way through the Church like a crazed wildebeest.

  3. To put it another way, Francis may be regretting his maltreatment of Muller, given that Muller is, in effect, still acting as if he were CDF Prefect with his speeches, and contradicting Francis, and Francis’ German string-pullers, at every step.

    Meanwhile, the actual Prefect, Cdl. Ladaria, one of Francis’ Compliant Castrati, is silent.

    • RCA Victor,

      All very well said – I haven’t even given Cardinal Ladaria Ferrer a thought in all of this, so well has he kept a low profile. I’ll need to do some detective work on him to suss out his background. And I don’t just mean the colour of his office wallpaper – though that, too!

      • Editor,

        I imagine Ladaria is a puppet. Pope Francis , the anything BUT humble pontiff, is a narcissist and only appoints puppets to important positions.

    • RCAVictor,

      Ladaria isn’t silent when it comes to giving specious support to the pope’s attempted change of doctrine on the death penalty. He gave his word for it that it was not a contradiction of what the Church has always taught i.e. he is another 2+2=5 man.

        • I agree. I still think he’s told when to speak and what to say in an attempt to validate what this errant pope says. Terrible times!

  4. Coincidentally, only recently I was in a conversation where nobody seemed sure if St Paul was a priest – nobody thought he was a bishop – so this sentence in the blog article was very helpful to me:

    “We might add that St. Paul was not only a priest, but also a bishop, and even an apostle,”

    I can go back and quote that to my friends now!

  5. I don’t quite get what model of hierarchy authority clergy operate under these days. I have had conversations with our two most recent curates who seem to be at least a bit traditionally minded but at the same time are completely unwilling to take a stance on what they privately acknowledge to be wrong. I refer to the indiscriminate use of so called Eucharistic ministers. We have only a small chapel in our village with a Sunday Mass attendance of less than 50 people. Yet week in week out up go these “ministers” to help Father! By no stretch of the imagination could one justify the use of extraordinary ministers. The clue is in the name. Yet both curates concur with this practiice because they say they don’t want to upset the lay people who are the ministers. They just don’t have the courage to make a stand. Even though it is clearly wrong. I wonder if they would go along with it if our local bishop sanctioned Communion for non Catholics? Who knows?

  6. Elizabeth,

    A word of warning about regarding those two priests as being “at least a bit traditionally minded” – because I made the same mistake about none other than the present Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow when he was “mere” Father Tartaglia.

    I was delighted to read a letter from him in the Scottish Catholic Observer, commenting on the Vatican instruction which prohibited the use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion even in a packed church. He wrote that it was a dilemma for a priest to read this from the Vatican, while his (arch)bishop permitted/encouraged it. What, he asked, is a priest to do?

    I wrote to him at his parish, thanking him for his letter and saying that, in this case, the Vatican had to be obeyed not the bishop, since – in this case – it is the Vatican which is in conformity with Catholic Tradition.

    He replied by email and we corresponded for a bit. Appeared to be (as I told my then Vatican contact, cough, ahem) “the best of a bad bunch” – and so I was pleased when he was appointed to be the Bishop of Paisley. Aha, I thought – now we will see some cats set among some pigeons. Some hope.

    Quite the opposite, in fact. He told one woman, in correspondence, that by being an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, she was doing great things for God (I paraphrase, but that was the sense of it). He encouraged her in her “ministry”.

    Sad to say, there are too many such priests who run with the hare and hunt with the hounds,, as the saying goes. I’ve come to see the truth of the saying “watch what (they) DO not what (they) say…”

    • Editor,

      Bishop Keenan of Paisley is exactly the same. He will say one thing in private, before saying the very opposite in public. They can’t be trusted.

  7. RCA Victor,

    Francis seems to be tightening his grip and ensuring his men are in charge of everything. He’s a bully and a meglamaniac. I’m just amazed some people still think he’s a humble soul.

    • Petrus,

      He seems to have adopted the playbook of Lenin and Stalin (except for the humble pretense), but instead of murdering his enemies he just replaces them and puts yes-men in power, like Cupich over here.

      There are a couple of articles on the blogs today about Francis’ “enemies list” too.

    • Lionel,

      It’s obvious to any right-thinking Catholic but to the papolatrist it’s “obedience first”.

      The confused modernist mind is truly unfathomable…

  8. If things continue as they are under Francis, we can expect Kim Jong Un to succeed him in the not too distant future. Not quite sure how the wee fat man will look with a mitre on that “blind Jock” haircut, though.

    Of course, Cardinal Mueller is perfectly correct in his analysis of true and false obedience. The problem is he still can’t see that it has been precisely this wise discernment in accordance with Tradition that underlies the position of the SSPX, which he has castigated as disobedience to the Pope.

  9. TFP STUDENT ACTION tradition • family • property
    Urge Sacred Heart University to Cancel Lecture by Pro-LGBT Activist Priest Fr. James Martin, S.J.

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    Fr. Martin said homosexuals should be “invited” to be Eucharistic ministers
    Please:

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    In fact, Fr. Martin’s push to normalize unnatural vice inside the Church, prompted Catholic leaders to cancel some of his appearances.

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    John Ritchie
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    http://www.tfpstudentaction.org
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